The Essentials: Basic Catholic Prayers

These are the basic Catholic prayers. We use some of these at Mass (the Catholic liturgy). A lot of other prayers also include one or more of these.

The sign of the cross

The simplest, most basic Catholic prayer.

Catholics begin their day and many activities with the sign of the cross. It is a sacramental, a practice that helps us open ourselves to receiving God's grace more effectively.

While saying this prayer, bless yourself by making the sign of the cross with one hand: touch your fingers to your forehead at the word "Father", to your heart at the word "Son," to your left shoulder at "Holy", and right shoulder at "Spirit".

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Our Father

Also called The Lord's Prayer, since Jesus taught it to his disciples (see Matthew 6:9-13).

The Our Father is the foundation of Christian prayer (Catechism, 2759). Most people learn it before all other basic Catholic prayers.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

The Hail Mary is well-loved and beautiful basic Catholic prayer. It combines two lines from Scripture (Lk 1:28 and Lk 1:42) with a humble request for Mary to pray for us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Apostles Creed

Also see the separate article on the Apostles Creed.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

The main article on Catholic prayers contains many other wonderful basic Catholic prayers. You'll also find sound guidance for easily developing your prayer life.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also has many wonderful pages about the Our Father, which comes first before all other basic Catholic prayers (opens a new browser window; be sure to use that page's "Next" button to read the subsequent pages there).

More articles for the beginning Catholic available from our home page.